How to Make Homemade Garden Fertilizer - Backyard Boss
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How to Make Homemade Garden Fertilizer

It is no secret that organic gardening is becoming more and more popular because people are now more concerned about the quality and health levels of the food they eat. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to be a gardener because not everyone has the space to plant crops.  The people who do have the required space to have their own garden and decide they want to grow organic crops should definitely learn a thing or two about how to make homemade garden fertilizer.

Why Make Your Own Organic Homemade Fertilizer?

There are so many different fertilizers that you can buy in stores both online and offline, it almost seems futile to waste any time in making your own. However, there are a lot of people that choose to do so, so you may be wondering why you would be one of those people.

First of all, homemade garden fertilizer is mostly made out of stuff that you were going to throw away, as you will see. Second, when you make your own fertilizer, you can be certain that it’s organic, which is something that a lot of companies promise but fail to deliver.

Organic vs. Synthetic

  • Unlike fertilizers that are made with manufactured chemical ingredients, organic homemade garden fertilizers will slowly release nutrients in the soil, which makes them last longer.
  • Being organic, these fertilizers are healthier for the root of the plant. Seedlings are sometimes in danger of being burned by fertilizers that contain mineral salts that can damage the roots.
  • Organic fertilizers have complex molecules that contain the nutrients that last longer in the soil, so they won’t be washed away at the very first few minutes of heavier rain.

Recipe #1: Ash-Based Fertilizer

Whether it comes from a fire pit or your fireplace, ash can serve as a really good garden fertilizer. It is rich in calcium carbonate and potassium, and it helps balance out the pH of soils with high acidity. Using ash on your soil will help the plants be more efficient in terms of nutrient absorption.

All you have to do is pick up the ash when it’s cool and then sprinkle it all over your garden beds. Make sure that the soil isn’t alkaline, and that you don’t use ash with plants that require acid.

Recipe #2: Coffee Ground Fertilizer

Coffee ground fertilizer can be used to replace soil acidifiers and can act as role plant food.  Coffee grounds will provide your plants with a lot of different nutrients as they are very rich in potassium magnesium and nitrogen.  Because of the natural acidity of coffee grounds, they can also help to boost soil acidity for the plants that need it.

coffee grounds soil garden tools

To make your own coffee ground fertilizer, you will need a newspaper, a cookie sheet, and used coffee grounds. There steps to follow are simple:

  • Place the cookie sheet on top of the newspaper.
  • Lay out the coffee grounds on top of the cookie sheet and spread it out evenly so that they can dry.
  • When they are dry, you can sprinkle them at the base of the plants. Make sure that you only do so for plants that are acid-consumers, such as roses, blueberries, azaleas, etc. Note that using too much coffee grounds can actually increase the acidity of the soil way too much.

Recipe #3: Egg Shell Fertilizer

Eggshells are very rich in calcium carbonate, which is agricultural lime’s main ingredient. For this recipe, you will simply need eggshells and a blender. Make sure that you leave the eggshells up to dry before putting them inside the blender. You will need to mix them until they turn into a fine powder.

Then, you can sprinkle the powder around your garden soil. What this powder does is lower the acidity of the soil in case you have plants that require low acidity levels.

Recipe #4: Epsom Salt Fertilizer

Did you know that Epsom salt is rich in sulfate and magnesium, both of which are super good for plant nutrition? There are plenty of plants that love magnesium, including potatoes and peppers. Some expert gardeners even say it’s the best homemade fertilizer for tomatoes.

To make your own Epsom salt fertilizer, you will need about a tablespoon of it, one gallon of water, and a watering can. You will have to dissolve the salt in water, put the mixture in the watering can, and then use it to water the plants. You want to turn this into a monthly process, to make it more efficient.

Recipe #5: Banana Peel Fertilizer

Bananas are another great source of potassium and some of the most nutritious types of fruit you can eat. But did you know that you can use banana peels to add some nutrition to the soil, especially if you want your rose bushes to be the envy of the neighborhood? When you bury banana peels into the soil, they will naturally turn into compost, feeding your roses organically and helping grow.

banana peel on countertop


Recipe #6: Tree Leaves Fertilizer

Most people that have lived in a house with a yard and trees since forever know that together with fall comes the great responsibility (or tedious chore) or having to rake leaves. What some of them may not know is that these leaves can actually make some great garden fertilizer.

Leaves fallen on the ground are actually a great source of minerals and they can help lighten heavier types of soil. Then you rake up the leaves in your yard, you can either crush them and create a mix for your potting soil or simply use them as mulch (which is useful for both keeping weeds at a distance, as well as fertilizer for your plants).

Recipe #7: Tea Fertilizer

We wanted to add a more complex recipe to the mix, but also one that can provide an amazing deal of nutrients for your plants. This homemade liquid fertilizer recipe is a bit more unconventional than the rest, but if you think outside of the box for a second, you will figure out that all the ingredients are in there for a good reason:

  • Mix a quarter cup of Epsom salts with two cups of urine (yes, you read that right), and two cups of wood ash into a five-gallon bucket.
  • On top of that mix, add some weeds that you pulled from the ground/pruned green leaves/grass clipping until you fill the bucket half-way through.
  • Add water on top of that until the bucket is full and leave it there for about three days.
  • You can pour the tea directly onto the soil, although some people prefer diluting the mixture again with more water (into a 50/50 ratio).
  • After the three days have passed, strain the liquid into bottles or jugs that you’re no longer using.

It is very important that you don’t leave the mixture to steep for more than three days. This gives the ingredients a chance to release their nutrients into the water, but more than three days will lead to fermentation, which is not recommended as the pH can quickly change and the smell becomes horrid.

glass mug of tea with teabag

Bottom Line

Making your own garden fertilizer isn’t just easy, but it’s also recommended. As you’ve seen from the recipes we’ve shown you above, most of these alternatives to store-bought fertilizer are made using food scraps or resources that you would have thrown away eventually, maybe without even knowing that some of them are rich in minerals and nutrients that can help plants grow in a more organic fashion.

Whether you’re looking to spruce up that vegetable garden or want to give your flowers an edge and an opportunity to grow healthy and beautiful, using some of that “garbage” can turn out to be quite beneficial for them.